, Volume 27, Issue 7-8, pp 637-647

Ganglioside Function in Calcium Homeostasis and Signaling

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Abstract

Ganglioside function in eukaryotic cells encompasses a variety of modulatory interactions related to both development and mature cellular behavior. In relation to the nervous system this includes induction of neurite outgrowth and trophic/neuroprotective phenomena; more generally this applies to ganglioside effects on receptor function, adhesion reactions, and signal transduction mechanisms in neural and extraneural systems. Underlying many of these trophic effects are ganglioside-induced changes in cellular calcium, accomplished through modulation of Ca2+ influx channels, Ca2+ exchange proteins, and various Ca2+-dependent enzymes that are altered through association with gangliosides. A clear distinction needs to be drawn between intrinsic functions of gangliosides as naturally expressed by the cell and activities created by application of exogenous ganglioside(s) that may or may not reflect natural function. This review attempts to summarize findings in this area and point to possible future directions of research.